The University of Newcastle, Australia

Course handbook


Human society as it is today would not be possible without language. Institutions, relationships and human achievements all rely on the trait that is unique to humans - language. This course provides an introduction to the study of human language, known as linguistics.

Most of us are not aware of the enormous number of language choices we make every day and this course will give students insight into some of these choices. It investigates features that all languages have in common, how we construct what we speak and write every day, how children acquire language, how we communicate in society, how language differs from animal communication, how people convey meaning in language, Australian Aboriginal languages, how Australian English developed and what makes it different to other varieties of English, the sounds of language and how they are used, how language, culture and society are related, how words and languages are created, how gender plays a role in language, and how the brain is vital to language. Although the main language of study is English, examples from many other languages are given with the intention of providing an understanding of the features that all languages share.

The course also aims to engage students in a learning experience of language through various approaches catering for different learning styles. Students are encouraged to engage in objective analysis of various aspects of language, and they will be given the opportunity to develop skills necessary for undergraduate study through the embedded explicit teaching of academic literacies.

Availability2018 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2018


  • Semester 2 - 2018

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Develop academic skills in research and writing for tertiary study

2. Demonstrate an understanding of the terminology and concepts used in the study of language (Linguistics)

3. Explain theory and concepts with original examples to show understanding

4. Become aware of fundamental theoretical and applied aspects of Linguistics

5. Gain an awareness of interpersonal and social aspects of language

6. Gain confidence in utilising technology appropriately


  1. What all languages have in common
  2. How we use language in society
  3. Knowing and using language
  4. The nature of language
  5. How animal communication differs from human language
  6. How we learn language
  7. How language varies according to situation, region and social groups
  8. How we put sentences together
  9. How we express meaning with language
  10. The sounds of language
  11. The origins and development of Australian English
  12. How we structure and create words
  13. How languages are born
  14. Australian Aboriginal languages
  15. Gender differences in language use
  16. The brain's capacity for language


This course is not available to students who have successfully completed or are enrolled in EPHUMA148, or EPHUMA149 or EPHUMA249.

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Exercise 1 - Written paragraph, multiple-choice questions

Written Assignment: Exercise 2 - Short answer questions, sentence analysis

Essay: Essay

In Term Test: Class Test - Written Paragraph

Formal Examination: Final Examination - Multiple-choice questions, paragraphs, and essay

Contact hours

Callaghan and Ourimbah


Face to Face On Campus 4 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 11 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks